The safest route to using copyrighted work is to obtain permission from the copyright holder. With permission, you may be able to use the entire work or to use it in ways not allowed by Fair Use.
There are 3 ways to approach requesting permission:
1. Contact the publisher
If the work you want to use is a published work (book, article, etc.), it's probably best to contact the publisher directly
2. Collective rights agencies
Some fields have central offices to facilitate the permission request process for a fee. See the list of major collective rights agencies listed on the K-State Copyright Pages.
3. Contact the copyright holder
If a work has not been published or commercially released, try to determine the author/creator and contact that person directly.
As you prepare your permission request letter, be sure to include these elements:
Here are few examples of frameworks for permission requests:
Sample letter requesting permission to use copyrighted material without a charge
Sacramento State University Library
Sample Letter Requesting Permission
Office of General Counsel, University of Texas System
Sample Copyright Permission Request
K-State Office of Academic Personnel
There may be cases where you can't determine the copyright owner, or they don't respond to your request. If this happens, you'll need to assess the risk involved in using the work without permission. The University recommends adhearing to the Fair Use guidelines if this circumstance were to occur, or just not using the work at all. While it is possible that a documented search for the copyright owner could lessen the damage award if a court found it as infringement, there are not cases establishing a precedent for this issue.